Motorcycle Laws in Illinois

Studies show that riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than riding in a car. Motorcycle operators and passengers are 24 times more likely to die when a crash happens than car drivers and passengers. Motorcycles offer less protection and require more skill than cars. As a result, Illinois has many laws that only apply to motorcycles and their riders.

If you get injured in a motorcycle accident in Chicago, IL, your compliance with motorcycle laws in Illinois may become an issue. A motorcycle crash attorney from Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers will help you navigate these issues in your pursuit of fair compensation.

Contact our law firm at (312) 929-2884 to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced attorney.

How Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Chicago, IL

How Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident in Chicago, IL

For over a decade, Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers has represented injured clients in Chicago, Illinois, against at-fault parties and their insurers. The firm has recovered tens of millions of dollars for victims of preventable incidents like traffic crashes and medical malpractice.

If you suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligent driving, our Chicago motorcycle accident lawyers will provide the following:

  • A free consultation so we can learn about your situation and explain your rights
  • Preparation of your insurance claim and aggressive negotiations to settle it
  • Over 30 years of litigation experience if your case goes to court

A motorcycle crash can cause disabling injuries that prevent you from earning a living. Contact our Chicago personal injury lawyers to learn about the compensation you can seek after your motorcycle accident.

How Many Motorcycle Crashes Happen in Chicago?

According to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s statistics, Chicago had 543 traffic crashes involving motorcycles in 2022. These crashes included 19 fatal accidents and 326 non-fatal injury accidents.

These numbers are low considering Chicago is the third-most populous city in the U.S. Motorcycle crashes only comprise about 0.3% of the city’s total traffic crashes for that year. But the numbers also reveal the dangers of riding a motorcycle. Over 14% of the city’s traffic fatalities and nearly 1.7% of the city’s traffic injuries happened during motorcycle crashes.

In other words, motorcycle accidents produced 50 times more deaths and six times more injuries than they should have produced based on their share of traffic accidents. These statistics have convinced most states, including Illinois, to regulate motorcycles differently than other motor vehicles.

Laws Affecting Motorcyclists in Illinois

Motorcyclists face different risks than vehicle occupants for many reasons. Motorcycles are smaller and have a higher power-to-weight ratio, which gives them greater maneuverability and acceleration. As a result, drivers tend to misjudge their distance and speed.

As two-wheeled vehicles, motorcycles require balance to ride safely. Even a near-miss can cause a motorcyclist to lay down their motorcycle and slide off the road or into active traffic lanes.

During a crash, motorcycles do not protect operators and passengers. Riders will hit the ground if the motorcycle tips over. Worse yet, they can get ejected in a head-on or rear-end collision.

Illinois has laws meant to address some of these risks. They fall into several categories, including the following:

Helmet Use

The first area involves helmet use. 47 U.S. states have laws that require at least some riders to wear motorcycle helmets. California requires all riders to wear a helmet, while only young riders must wear a helmet in Florida.

Illinois is one of three states that has no motorcycle helmet law. In other words, the state requires no motorcyclist, regardless of age, to wear a helmet.

Prudent riders should still wear helmets for three reasons:

  • Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injuries by up to 69%
  • Operators who wear helmets reduce their risk of death by up to 37%
  • Riders injured without helmets may have their personal injury compensation reduced

The third reason arises from a doctrine called comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, an insurance adjuster or jury can assign blame to a crash victim for their injuries, thereby reducing their damages claim. For example, if a jury finds you 30% at fault for your head injuries because you rode helmetless, you can only get compensated for 70% of your losses.

Operator Licensing

Every state in the U.S. requires a motorcycle license or endorsement. This license ensures that riders have the training, knowledge, and skills to ride safely.

Illinois requires all applicants for a motorcycle license under 18 to take a safety course and pass a driving exam. Applicants 18 and older have a choice whether to take the safety course or pass a road test.

Traffic Laws

The same traffic laws apply to motorcycles and automobiles. The state also has certain laws that only apply to motorcycles. For example, the state prohibits a practice called “lane splitting,” in which a motorcycle rides on the lane line to pass stopped or slowed traffic. In Illinois, a motorcycle must always move into an unoccupied lane when passing.

Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Experienced Chicago Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

A motorcycle accident can leave you with catastrophic injuries even when you comply with all motorcycle laws in Illinois. Contact Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation at (312) 929-2884 to discuss your injuries and the compensation you can seek under Illinois law.